Christmas in Hawaii

We decided to fly to Hawaii for Christmas and meet my family there instead of flying back to Australia. I booked us a three-bedroom suite at a resort in Ko Olina, right on the waterfront.

The flight was brutal – 10 hours straight. Eloise napped just once and then was awake for 12 hours straight.

It’s a miracle, she’s asleep!

The resort and beach were so beautiful. Ko Olina was a little piece of paradise. We spent most days walking around the beaches, swimming in the ocean and pools.

Checking out the beach for the first time since she was four months old in Sydney.

Pure joy.

Ocean!

Walking by the beach with Daddy.

Beach with my Cheese.

Decided she loves the beach.

Hey beach baby!

We also did the toddler dolphin experience at Dolphin Quest. It was wonderful to meet dolphins with Eloise. It totally blew her mind. She was fascinated by them, and has been saying “dolph!” and pointing to pictures of them since.

Dolphins!

View from the balcony.

Sunset.

One thing I really wanted to do was the Disney character breakfast at Aulani. It was so much fun! A decent buffet breakfast with a great omelet station, Minnie Mouse and Goofy wandering around to the tables for meet and greets and photo ops. Every so often, “Auntie” would strike up music and sing cute Hawaiian-y songs, handing out instruments and leading the kids in a parade around the restaurant. Eloise was in absolute heaven.

Disney breakfast at Aulani resort.

Alec and I had a few hours to ourselves one day so went for a drive to Mokule’ia Beach, where Lost was filmed. It was stunning – a pure white sand beach with almost no one in site for miles.

Mokule’ia Beach, Oahu

We also went on an easy hike one day with Tim and Michele up to Diamond Head. It had an amazing view of Honolulu.

View from Diamond Head.

I also got up super early one morning to see Pearl Harbour with Michele. It was a sobering experience to be there and see the sunken Arizona ship.

Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbour.

Even though I get really sea sick pretty much just by looking at boats, I thought it would be a fun idea to get on a boat and go snorkelling and whale watching. True to form, I felt ill the entire time, but we did see about 10 Humpback whales.

Humpback whales spotting.

We went for a stroll through Waimea Valley. It was really beautiful – a little too manicured, but some amazing plants.

Crazy antics.

Waimea Valley.

We also went on the Ranch and Movie tour at Kualoa Ranch, where a lot of movies and TV shows have been filmed. I loved the tour – especially seeing where Jurassic Park was filmed for the famous scene with the log below.

Jurassic Park filming location, Kualoa Ranch.

It was really strange being somewhere other than in Warwick Farm for Christmas morning. It was really lovely, but also really strange! My first Christmas not in Warwick Farm in my life so far. We had breakfast at the neighbouring Marriott resort, followed by present opening and relaxing.

Christmas morning with my baby.

Christmas palm tree.

Family shot, Christmas Day.

What a wonderful trip! It was so great to see my family all together. Hawaii is paradise – can’t wait to go back again.

Advertisements

Hawaii Shopping

I wasn’t planning on doing a post on my Hawaii shopping, but Beverly wanted to see my purchases, so here we are. I reserved basically all shopping till the last day and went a bit berserk at the outlets and Alo Moana Centre. Thanks Alec for your supreme patience…

Honeymoon gift from the Hawai’ian mothership.

New charms from Juicy Couture.

This fab bag from LeSportsac was 50% off and served as my extra bag to bring my loot home.

Tissue and make-up pouch from LeSportsac.

Cute little money and travel pouch.

Little evening bag from the Coach outlet.

I love the logo.

Some interesting looking sandals from Crocs.

Overload at Sephora and Mac.

Urban Decay eyeshadow primer – it’s amazing!

Laura Mercier make-up – I’ve been wanting to try it for a while. So far, it’s fantastic.

Body wash from Philosophy. It smells fantastic.

My fave mascara from Fiberwig. Pricey, but looks great and doesn’t smudge.

Hawaii Honeymoon: Oahu

Last stop – Oahu and shopping. Honolulu reminds me of the Gold Coast, so I like to get on and off the island pretty quickly. I’m sure there are beautiful areas on this island too, but it’s just so built up that I’m not overly keen to explore it. We spent a very short period here – two nights and one full day. Just enough to shop till I maxed my credit card out.

Dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.

Honeymoon splurge gift.

Me and the Duke, we’re old mates.

Waikiki sends us off in true Hawaiian style on our last morning.

Aloha Hawaii!

Hawaii Honeymoon: Kauai Part 5, Ins and Outs

Pretty much the only bad thing about Hawaii is the food. They have a lot of junk food, and most regular food is cooked the fattiest way possible. Throw in vegetarian and it’s a struggle to find anything to eat.

One of only two decent places we found to eat was the Bubba Burgers chain on Kauai. The burgers look like cute little McDonald’s burgers – but they taste amazing in a way Maccas have never been able to master. They had a vegie burger made out of Taro, a root vegetable kind of like sweet potato. I was hesitant to eat it, but it was really good.

Inside Bubba’s – watch your burger get cooked on the grill by the local teenagers.

How cute are they? How good do they look?

Completely wrecked by our 2.5 hour hike and desperate for burgerrrrrrrs.
There are a some very well-placed waterfalls in Hawaii so tourists who don’t want to hike for an hour can still see the natural beauty without breaking a sweat.

Such as this waterfall, literally on the side of a road.

We found this pie stall on the side of the road. The pie maker had created about 15 types of fruit and dessert pies.

We tried two types, one of which was mango. It was the best pie either of us has ever eaten.

Also the best looking pie I’ve ever seen.

 More fishies out the front of our hotel and at Poipu Beach.

Blurry photo courtesy of a dirty underwater casing.

Parrot fish!

In the hotel pool.

Last night on Kauai. Sadness.

So long Kauai, thanks for the tan!

Hawaii Honeymoon: Kauai Part 4, Kalalau Trail

Kauai is a small island. You can drive from one side to the other (on the one main road they have on the island) in an hour.

We took a drive along to the end of the highway, along the Coconut Coast and North Shore, stopping along the way at anything looking interesting. It was a gray, rainy day, but fortunately the sun came out sporadically enough that it was still a great day for our hike at the end of the road.

The USA is famous for their fruit pies – and we happened upon a little cafe in Princeville that sold slices of blueberry pies that made Alec exclaim in happiness – much to the amusement of the waitress who had never seen anyone so happy to buy pie before.

One very happy camper.
Princeville is in the shadow of mountains, which makes for a very dramatic landscape.

Just your average, run-of-the-mill location …
A short drive past Princeville we came to Ha’ena Beach Park, where we saw this amazing view…

Across the road from the park is the Manini-holo dry cave, one of several sea caves located in the area. The cave, which is about 300 yards deep, used to be much larger but the 1957 tsunami partially filled it with sand.

It doesn’t look so big …

Amazingly huge. The roof and walls have beautiful colours and details.

A little further down the road is the Waikanaloa Wet Cave.

We decided on a hike, despite the bad weather. We’d heard great things about the Kalalau Trail, which starts at Ke’e Beach and leads to Hanakapiai Beach. You can continue the walk further, but the mud from the rain made it a really difficult hike so we just walked the 3.2km to the beach and back again.

View along the hike.

Muddy!

Our final destination comes into view.

Alone on Hanakapiai Beach.

Alec has no idea this is the last photograph in which his 3rd pair of Oakleys will appear. Shortly afterwards, Alec took his shirt off, dropping his sunnies into the stream.

The beach is only accessible via the walking track, making for a peaceful destination.
Navigating back over the steam out of paradise.

Hawaii Honeymoon: Kauai Part 3: Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon is the largest canyon in the Pacific. It measures 10 miles long, 1 mile wide, and more than 3,500-feet deep.

We took a drive up into the canyon to do a hike. There are a lot of hikes you can do – you could easily spend days trying to do all of the walks.

Stunning.

The view is spectacular.

The Fraggle Rock of foliage.

Completely wrecked. What, we have to hike BACK UP again?

Hawaii Honeymoon: Kauai Part 2, Up In The Air

Around 90% of Kauai isn’t accessible by land, so the only way to see it is with a helicopter flight. We decided to take the Jack Harter Helicopter tour because they flew a Hughes 500 with the doors off for maximum photo greatness. I was incredibly excited about taking photos from the air – only to find myself squished in the worst possible seat because I was the lightest person on board – between a fat lady and the pilot, which left my arms pinned in a position like a T-rex. I put Alec in charge of the camera and enjoyed the view.

“I’m in a helicopter!”

The waterfall in Jurassic Park …

… is tiny compared to some of the other falls on Kauai!

Kauai is known as the garden island because of the lush landscape and tropical waterfalls. It is home of the wettest spot on Earth, as well as Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. While smaller than the Grand Canyon (it’s still massive, mind you), I think it’s actually more beautiful. 

The amazing red soil.
Kauai is also famous for the Na Pali Coast – a stretch of coast that you can also only see by air or boat. It’s also stunning – cliffs, canyons, set against turquoise water.

Part of the Na Pali coast.

Wedged in tight.

More lush valleys. Is there a dinosaur in there?

Last waterfall of the flight – we visited it on land not long after.

We had a particularly lovely sunset that night – amazing lighting for a few photos.

Taken off Poipu Beach.

Beautiful light for portraits.

Do we have to go home? Really?

Hawaii Honeymoon: Kauai Part 1

For a change of pace we spent our second week on Kauai. We stayed in a boutique hotel on the beach in Poipu. We had a gorgeous view from the window and it was amazing falling asleep and waking up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore.

Lovely decor.

Not a bad view!

Just another perfect day in Hawaii!

At the hotel pool bar with the first of many cocktails.

Staying on the beach allowed for many walks in different lights. Thanks for being such a good model Alec 🙂

Sand bar on the beach in the dying light.
I was hoping to spot a rare Hawaiian monk seal on our visit, but since they’re classed as critically endangered (only around 1500 left in total, 150 of which are on the main Hawaiian islands), so we were stunned to see a seal on the beach right outside our hotel on our first night. The next morning we went for a walk along walk along the beach, and saw a second one. Two days in a row, what amazing luck. The seals had hauled themselves out on to the sand and lay there for hours having a snooze. Local life guards set up barricades around them to keep people away.

Ignoring the paparazzi.
We stayed in an area where we saw amazing sunsets every night, right outside our room.

We also stayed right on a beach with great snorkeling. The water was crystal clear, so we had perfect visibility. There was a surprising amount of fish as well – in amazing colours. The fish were really relaxed about us snorkeling all around them, letting us get really close.

How’s the serenity?

Doesn’t get much better than this.

Monk seal spotting #2.
We hadn’t realised Kauai was famous for … chickens. That’s right. There are wild feral chickens running all over the island. You literally can’t take a step without tripping over a chicken. They are thought to be a cross between the chickens the Polynesians brought across many years ago, and the more recent fighting chickens, making them a very hearty breed. I’ve never seen such healthy, happy chickens, so island life clearly suits them well.

No, I’m not your dinner …

Hawaii Honeymoon: Maui Part 3, Under The Sea

People who get sea sick should NOT get on boats. It’s as simple as that. Yet, I always find myself on a boat when I go to Hawaii. This time I was enticed by the idea to visit the Molokini Crater off the coast of Maui.

The crater, rising out of the ocean.

Wearing a wetsuit top as the water was pretty cold still.

Lanai island in the background.

In the water, the ocean life was pretty average – I’ve definitely seen better variety and numbers in other places, such as on the Big Island of Hawai’i. It was still enjoyable though, even with the sea sickness!

The next stop was “Turtle Town”, an area off the coast of Maui with a large population of turtles. I think I saw about five different giant turtles. Seeing them swimming towards us through the clear sea was amazing – gentle giants of the ocean.

Here they come!

Bye for now!

Back on land, we received a tip from a local photographer on a place to spot more turtles, a beach called Black Rock. We swam a few meters off shore, and, sure enough, there were more turtles!

Black Rock – another gorgeous beach.

This guy ate a lot of sea grass. Or fungus. Or whatever it is they eat.

Lookout on the way back to our hotel.

Last night in Maui.

Hawaii Honeymoon: Maui Part 2, Sunset on Haleakala

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to watch the sunrise from Haleakala, the second tallest mountain in the world (the second is on the Big Island of Hawai’i). This adventure required us to get up at 2:10am (!!) for our 2:30am pick up. I felt pretty terrible on the bus, driving through the night up the side of the volcano, but it was all worth it when we arrived at the summit at about 5:30am, just before the sun rose.

The sun rise is spectacular from this spot as the sun peaks through the clouds, giving a view like none I’ve ever seen before.

Dark. And cold (5 degrees!).

Getting lighter (but no warmer).

I was getting pins and needles in my hands at this stage, but kept on snapping!

Finally, the sun peeks over the clouds.

The glow fills the sky.

Oh hai there! Amazing to witness.

Freezing, but worth it!

Fully risen – beautiful!
We took a tour with Maui Downhill to the top because we wanted to bike down the mountain after seeing the sunrise. As a bonus we got to wear these sexy banana suits. I was seriously doubting whether or not I could wear one, but I was so cold that I was willing to suffer the fashion disaster to stay warm. Clearly I’m no fashionista. 

Obligatory pose for the honeymooners.

Check out the view from up here!

After an easy bike ride down the mountain, we stopped at the base – near some lovely horses. This fellow wanted to be friends.


We arrived back at our hotel at about 11am – and went straight back to bed! It was exhausting, but an amazing experience.